Around 15 Christian families in Chhattisgarh are subjected to social boycott for refusing to convert to the local tribal religion.
According to reports from the International Christian Concern (ICC), the Christian families from Sukma District’s Ekpal village were attacked by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists in November 2020.
Following the incident, the village elders took these families' ration cards, denying them access to the government-subsidized food that is distributed to all tribe members.
“Christians in Ekpal are paying a heavy price for following Jesus,” Bhima Sodi told ICC.
“They are accused of practicing a foreign faith and leaving their ancestral tribal culture and tradition.”
The families' ration cards were returned over two months after the event was reported to the local police.
Things worsened when village leaders sought to cut off the Christian families' major source of income by refusing to buy Tendu leaves, which the tribe's members harvested to roll local cigarettes.
Since the original incident in November 2020, local radicals have been pressuring these Christians to forsake their faith and using social boycotts to persecute them.
“There is continual pressure for these families to return to the tribal religion,” Sodi told ICC.
“One family did go back to their previous religion because the pressure was too much. The boycott affects our livelihoods, and we even have endured physical abuse.”